Yes, Monta Ellis does already have a buzzer-beater this season, but that was a long time ago and relatively early in the season. Of course, the Dallas Mavericks being the enigmatic, schizophrenic team that they are, couldn’t be expected to do anything but blow a lead against the lottery-bound Boston Celtics.
The game couldn’t be anything but close, with exaggerated Game 7-level excitement. The Mavericks are ridiculous that way, and once again the team was in need of a new hero. The go-to guy of late has been Devin Harris, but it was Ellis who came through with the quickness when the Mavericks needed him most against Boston.
On the cusp of blowing a double-digit lead to a mediocre, Rajon Rondo-less Celtics team, it was Ellis who watered his biggest 3-pointer as a Maverick to put Dallas up five points with just over two minutes remaining. The fans at the American Airlines Center wanted an encore, and Ellis sent all of them home happy by hitting two do-or-die free throws to put Dallas up by 3 with just under 20 seconds left in the game.
In the end, the Mavericks won the game 94-89. That’s a five-point difference. If you add up Ellis’ 3-pointer and free throws, you get five points. That’s no coincidence, my friend.
The Mavericks play an inspiring, unselfish, albeit schizophrenic brand of basketball. Dirk Nowitzki‘s clutch contributions can’t ever be taken for granted, but more than anything, it was the ice water in Ellis’ veins that stood out. When a team plays as many close games as the Mavericks do, what enables them to knock on the door of greatness is the sort of late-game execution displayed by Ellis.